Story by Zachary Avery, Editor-in-Chief
Volleyball season is back, and there’s no better way to kick off the year than the annual Cornerstone and Aquinas College Invitational. Hosting matches on both campuses, students and fans crowded around each and every court to see their favorite collegiate athletes give it their all. But after a promising start in their 3-2 win against Judson University, our AQ Saints struggled to keep their momentum all weekend-long, losing 1-3 against NAIA No. 12 ranked Bellevue University and 1-3 against IU-Kokomo.
While AQ has certainly been able to hold their own both locally and nationally in the past, it cannot be ignored that a changing of the guard since graduated seniors have left created a hole in the team’s performance. Without outside hitters Jackie Rozell, Meredith Kraus or libero Adrien Yondo, the pressure of team leadership has fallen on the shoulders of sophomores and juniors.
Some have risen to the challenge. Outside hitter Abbi Perkins absolutely “killed” it (pardon the pun). With most kills on either side for the entire weekend’s matches, Perkins has certainly set the tone for her performance this season. Another surprise came from Jenna Lee, a freshman at Aquinas. Scoring the most aces in her match against Judson, as well as a fair amount of digs throughout the weekend, Lee is another AQ athlete to keep your eye on.
With all that said, Women’s Volleyball still sits at an unfortunate 3-9 in their record. They’d been ranked at No. 4 in the WHAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, but were noticeably left out from the NAIA Top 25, despite a three-year streak not too long ago. The team has fallen a little – but now there is so much more ladder to climb.
Fans can look forward to upcoming matches against both Lourdes on Sept. 17 and Siena Heights on Sept. 18 at the Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center. These two WHAC matches can turn the tide for our AQ Saints, as they’re two teams we’ve faced and won against many times before. They are also our last two home matches before the end of the month, so go see some summertime Women’s Volleyball while you still can!